Active citizens collaborating with public authorities for taking care of the commons: a perspective from Italian cities

What should the role of public authorities be in relation to bottom-up initiatives of individuals willing to do something for their community? The contribution will illustrate the Italian model of “Shared Administration of urban commons” (introduced in 2014 in Bologna) where public authorities are supporting active citizens on the basis of the principle of horizontal subsidiarity (art.118, IV Italian Constitution). Until now the model has widespread in more than 240 municipalities (from metropolitan cities to small villages) through a prototype of Regulation and a new source of public law named “Collaboration Pact” between active citizens and public authorities – an agreement on actions of care of urban commons. Hundreds of thousands of people have been empowered by this model. From individuals’ freedom to take care of the commons we can foresee a new form of democracy based on subsidiarity, solidarity, participation in the Italian cities: will it be the case also for other EU cities?